Perpetual Benchmarking and Benchmarking Resources


If you have been through a series of benchmarking activi­ties and have implemented changes that have significantly improved processes, your organization may develop a ten­dency to leave benchmarking. After all, there are other things that need attention and resources. But this can be a costly mistake. At this point, the organization not only has greatly improved its processes but also developed some valu­able benchmarking experience. Keep in mind that best-in­class continues to be a dynamic and ever-changing mosaic. Processes are constantly being improved and altered. In a relatively short time, an organization can fall behind again. To prevent that from happening, the organization must take advantage of hard-won benchmarking experience and keep the effort moving. This means staying up-to-date with the best-in-class through all the means at your disposal, staying current with your own processes as they are continually im­proved, and benchmarking the weaker processes. This is a never-ending process.


A number of sources of information can help organizations with their benchmarking efforts. These cover the spectrum from nonprofit associations to cooperative affiliations to for-profit organizations that sell information. In addition, of course, there are consulting firms with expertise and da­tabases covering all aspects of benchmarking.

One of the most promising ventures is the American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC) Benchmarking Clearinghouse (123 N. Post Oak Lane, Houston, TX 77024; phone, [800] 776-9676 or [713] 681-4020; and on the Web at The APQC Benchmarking Clearinghouse has been set up to assist companies, nonprofit organizations, and government in the process of benchmarking. It works with affiliated organizations to collect and disseminate best practices through databases, case studies, publications, sem­inars, conferences, videos, and other media.

A wide range of benchmarking information is available on the Internet. Just ask your search engine to find “bench­marking” or “process benchmarking,” and you will probably be rewarded with more information than you can use. This ranges from articles on the subject to promotions for books and consultants. Colleges list the contents of their librar­ies that are related to benchmarking. We would suggest a word of caution, however. Anyone can put anything on the Internet without verification, so it is always a good idea to approach material from unfamiliar sources with a degree of skepticism. In spite of this, we consider the Internet to be a valuable benchmarking resource center.

Excellent sources of information for benchmarking are trade and professional groups. They can often direct organi­zations to best-in-class practices, provide contacts, and offer valuable advice. Baldrige Award winners are committed to sharing information with other U.S. companies, and they hold periodic seminars for this purpose.

The trade literature publishes a wealth of relevant in­formation, including lists of companies with best-in-class processes and practices. Industry Week is one example of an excellent source of benchmarking information. Dun and Bradstreet maintains a database of potential benchmarking partners and will share it for a fee.

Consultants and universities that are engaged in bench­marking can help organizations get started by providing initial training, offering advice and guidance, and directing organizations to benchmarking partner candidates.

Again, be cautious, and ensure that any information ob­tained is current. The very nature of benchmarking makes yesterday’s data obsolete. To achieve maximum benefit, or­ganizations must be sure that they are operating on current information.

Source: Goetsch David L., Davis Stanley B. (2016), Quality Management for organizational excellence introduction to total Quality, Pearson; 8th edition.

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